The month of October was quite a busy one for me, and though I did have a chance to see quite a few films, I didn’t have the time to sit down and write reviews for them. I do have some thoughts that I wanted to put into words and I thought a combined review for the month of October with more condensed individual reviews might be a good way to do it. So here are my abbreviated thoughts on the following October movies:
No Time To Die
The final time Daniel Craig portrays 007 did not disappoint. The first 30 minutes of the film proved to be one of the best intros in Bond history (not just Daniel Craig) with impressive cinematography, exciting stunts, and a beautiful location. The film slows down significantly through the middle and seems to try to make the audience forget the intro that hooked their attention in the first place. I personally thought the Felix Leiter/Logan Ash side plot was an unnecessary attempt to further book-end character arcs that started all the way back in Casino Royale. All it actually did was add 40 minutes to the runtime while introducing an annoying side-villain who was quickly disposed of later in the film.
When the last act finally came around, I found myself really enjoying most of the creative decisions that were made by director Cary Joji Fukunaga. It was a suspenseful and action-packed finale that paid homage to the legacy of (debatably) the greatest era of the 007 character. Though the middle seemed to drag on forever, the ending proved quite satisfying.
You can hear more of my opinions on No Time to Die on a recent episode of Banter? I Hardly Know Her!
The Last Duel
This is a film in which I had very few preconceived expectations aside from the fact that I knew Ridley Scott was the director. And with a cast of Matt Damon, Adam Driver, Jodie Comer, and Ben Affleck alongside the famed director of Alien, Blade Runner, Gladiator, and The Martian it seems this movie was destined to be great…right?
Wrong. To be blunt, The Last Duel was a dark, gritty, and uncomfortable piece that I might have left early if I didn’t have to wait on my ride. The medieval theming and feel were all excellent, the acting was incredible, but I was basically either bored or uncomfortable the entire 152 minutes of run time. The film was based (loosely) on an actual event, and it attempted to tell the same story of a rape trial from three different perspectives. Unfortunately, I had mentally given up on my ability to enjoy the film after the second perspective. I will say that this movie paints a very real portrait of what it must have been like to be a woman standing up against the word of a man in the time period. It also shows the values of honor, glory, and legacy likely very much outweighed the values of respect, integrity, and care for others (especially women). It’s eye-opening for sure and I’m glad they told this story, I’m just not particularly glad I had to sit through such a long and intolerable film to experience it.
Dune is a big cinematic experience that many people have been anticipating for years. Director Denis Villeneuve (Prisoners, Sicario, Arrival, Blade Runner 2049) has positioned himself in a league all his own when it comes to making big-budget visual masterpieces (alongside only that Christopher Nolan). Dune is another piece of masterful filmmaking that immediately supplants the audience from their seats and plops them down in a sci-fi universe of deep-voiced witches, worms the size of Connecticut, and levitating fat guys.
All jokes aside, I was so impressed with the visuals from this film. I can’t recall a time when I have been this visually immersed in a film. Every set and prop is just spot on and left me in anticipation for the next stunning wide shot. My complaint with Dune is that it is a pretty slow-developing movie, and you can tell are setting things up for further movies. This particular film didn’t grab me in a way that allowed me to connect with the characters on an emotional level, but the spectacular cinematography made up for that lack of character connection.
It’s a big, long, visual spectacle that you should appreciate if you are a lover of pushing the boundaries of filmmaking. If you just watch movies expecting constant entertainment, jokes, and relatable characters, this may not connect with you as much.